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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

19 JUL 2007

Co-owners, the transfer, the intent and Stack

Alex Ralton, Barrister, Albion Chambers, Bristol, and Deputy District Judge. Has Stack v Dowden [2007] UKHL 17, [2007] FLR (forthcoming) altered the law relating to co-ownership as it was understood to be? In the case of joint legal owners who hold on express trust for themselves as tenants in common in expressly declared shares, and in the case of joint legal owners who hold on trust for themselves as beneficial joint tenants, Stack v Dowden has not changed anything. There is no change to the position that the starting point in a case involving joint legal owners who do not expressly declare trusts is equal shares.

Where there might be a change, however, is in the further broadening of the Oxley v Hiscock [2004] EWCA Civ 546, [2004] 2 FLR 669 survey of the parties' dealings with each other in order to determine a common intention. In this article the author considers Baroness Hale's suggestions of factors that may be relevant to this issue. Going further, the author asks whether the area of occupation rents is perhaps one place where the case has nudged the law in favour of cohabitants.

Breaking down the key points in issue in Stack v Dowden and summarising their Lordships' conclusions, this article clarifies for the practitioner of the effect of the case on other authorities and for practice generally. To read it in full, see August [2007] Fam Law.

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